“There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” George Orwell”.
Anytime a dispute arises and agreement is not forthcoming for opinions advanced by intellectuals it is characterized as a war against intellectualism.
But then to employ the word war has become so commonplace as to have lost the resonance it once had.
Everything is a war now, from the war against poverty to the war against intellectuals, religion, and even twitter wars – no longer is it about expressing different opinions, accepting or dismissing the opinions of others, now it has become personal, an attack.
A reality exists in the above quote of George Orwell, who could be said to be an intellectual, and if so then an intellectual cut from a different cloth more concerned with speaking the obvious than self inflating rhetoric.
I happen to know a few individuals who consider themselves to be intellectuals and among them the common denominator is arrogance and a disdain for any they believe to be below their intellectual station.
They have all the answers and the world would become Eden if only the “stupid” would heed their words.
The greater stupidity in my opinion is their belief in a personal infallibility.
“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.” George Orwell
There is a convenience in denial, easier to avoid a truth and remain committed as an act of ego than to admit personal error in judgement or opinion.
A phenomena increasingly commonplace among all segments of society – if this were not so there would be no denial of climate change, no denial of a corporate owned government or candidates with a history of corporate cronyism, no denial of atrocities committed by all combatants during conflicts or claims that the opposition are children of a lesser god.
And so we hear of a dumbing down of America, which I will not argue, but what I will say is that this dumbing down is encompassing from the ivory towers of intellectuals and academia to the most humble.
It is a dumbing down predicated on going with the flow, accepting what one is told as advanced by corporate owned media outlets motivated by either a conservative or liberal agenda, the latest meme, the latest fad, the latest sound bite, the latest conspiracy theory.
It is following the antics of celebrities, knowing more about them than current events.
It is the belief that what we own determines our value and then being led along by advertising slogans and claims.
Whether we have diplomas and degrees hanging on the wall – where we come from, the upper or lower side of the tracks – what our skin color is, ethnicity and language.
A dumbing down that allows candidates like Trump and Hillary Clinton to become the choice – one a mysogynistic throwback and the other an established liar whose very supporters routinely poll in the majority as not trusting the candidate they support.
If a war does indeed exist against intelligence then this surely qualifies as proof.
It was dumb to invade Iraq based on the lie of WMDs, dumb to engage in a protracted war in Afghanistan, dumb to refer to ISIS as “the jv squad”, Citizens United was evidence of the dumbing down of the Supreme Court, dumb to castigate the Bush administration for employing twenty eight drone strikes and not doing the same for the current administration that has raised the total to over a thousand.
Dumb to accept the collateral damage body count of drone strikes as fewer than a hundred and fifty innocents.
Dumb for the government to violate every treaty it entered into with the nations even while the current president in a photo op declares treaties are in effect the supreme law of the land in echoing a 1905 SC opinion.
A list that goes on and on and in many cases primarily predicated on unswerving party allegiance.
Dumb to talk about building a wall or an over the top interpretation of events and issues based on political correctness or any number of phobias.
The extremes of political correctness fail to herald an age of enlightenment but usher in an era of thought and word police that will at some point, if not already, impact free speech and predictably lead to additional volumes of legislation and laws.
Liberals so intent on being seen as politically correct and conservatives equally intent on the opposite speaks to a dumbing down of the political process where fear of incurring the disapproval of constituents and pandering for votes trumps honesty and common sense.
A friend, a sister, emailed me suggesting a blog related to this dumbing down would be appropriate, and so I’ve responded, though in a way she might not agree with, in doing so I believe dumbing down is more inclusive than she might.
But if our opinions vary I consider them to be of the no harm no foul variety as I know her to be thoughtful and of good heart, and I will not exclude the possibility that I am wrong.
It is something of an aphorism to say we are what eat, the same could be said that we are what we believe and the direction that belief takes us, and that I feel is something to consider.
I am not an intellectual by any stretch of the imagination and have no desire to become or be perceived as one – I prefer to be viewed as a common man unafraid of work, a man of the nations willing to accept responsibilities who opts for reason and common sense rather than self promotion, titles, or lengthy dissertations when the same point, the same thing can be said with fewer words.
If you knew me, if we were to sit and talk you would find that I listen more than speak, an approach I believe all could benefit from as conversations and discussions should be an exchange, not a soap box or theater.
It is axiomatic to say knowledge is power, and there is a truth in that – but another truth is the nature of that power, how it is employed, and the course taken will be the best proof of intelligence or the lack of it whether we dine with fine china or on chipped plates.
Am I conducting a personal war against intelligence? Not at all, I’m a strong advocate for education for the nations children, for any child.
But the intelligence I respect is one accompanied by humility that doesn’t hold court and say look at me aren’t I special?